Company: Studio Deen
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 5 Apr 2012 – 8 Jul 2012
Synopsis: Furuya Chihiro is a complete zombie freak. His endless desire to consume all things related to zombie leads him to attempt a resurrection of his beloved cat, recently deceased. While trying to bring his cat back to life, Chihiro meets and interacts with beautiful Sanka Rea. Soon, however, things take a turn for the worse when Rea accidentally falls to her death, but not before drinking the potion that Chihiro concocted for raising the dead. When she rises bloody from the ground, a romance of boy and zombie girl begins.
Music: Second to few other anime.
Art: Beyond incredible.
Originality: A one-of-a-kind series.
Pacing: Slow. Really, really slow.
It’s not farfetched to say that anime adaptions of manga often deal with the difficulties of their original parent, especially if the pacing of the original story or the character designs aren’t particularly compelling. Sankarea had to deal with both of these, but it comes out with flying colors as a light piece of romantic entertainment.
Sankarea is gorgeously animated. By this, I not only mean that the action happens smoothly and the characters flow continuously, but also that the effects that are used to portray the psychological burden on the characters is used expertly without seeming over the top. Furthermore, the color swatches used throughout various scenes in the series adds an elegant touch of vividness to scenes that are otherwise dark and subdued. When the time comes for proper treatment of the anime’s world, it’s a feast for the eyes. As an example, I only have to point to the beauty of the hydrangeas that serve as a recurring symbol throughout the show.
Two other points are worth mentioning as well: for zombie movie buffs who are also into Japanese language and culture, the anime features several references to Western zombie flicks, ranging from character names to the way certain scenes play out. The opening and ending sequences are also enjoyable. They’re two songs that are stylistically different yet equally bring an element of emotion to the show.
While I may be heaping praise on this series, in the end there’s only so much you can do to make an uninspired romance more interesting. Character-wise, both Chihiro and Rea lack what it takes to become convincing characters on their own. The show’s character design follows a principle of “create a personality around a quirk” so that it’s impossible to forget each character that appears on screen. At the same time, once their quirkiness gets old, they don’t really feel genuine, and it’s hard to relate to them. However, some characters such as Rea’s father and mother serve as wonderful antagonists throughout the show.
Sankarea shows elements of visual brilliance and a basic premise that could have been completely refreshing, but the two protagonists never really pull their weight. Chihiro is a typical dunce when it comes to picking up on the romantic affections of the girls around him and offers nothing particularly interesting when it comes to insights on the behavior of zombies. Rea, though lovable, remains stuck in her timid rich girl role. It’s only when the story forces their hand that we see any development in their interaction, and even when we do, the show’s alternate themes of parenting seem to take a far more prominent role than the main romance.
The Rating: 7
Reviewed by: Kylaran